MSI GS65 Stealth 8SF with GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q

The MSI GS65 family combines low thickness with components that ensure high performance with personal productivity and games, thanks to the new GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q video card. Careful construction and sober design, for a powerful notebook that does not limit transportability and battery operation time.

It was at the CES 2019 that NVIDIA officially introduced the versions for notebook systems of its GeForce RTX family GPUs, models that are based on Turing architecture and for this reason they implement support for Ray Tracing Cores and Tensor Cores. These are very powerful GPUs, which replace those of the GeForce GTX 10 family based on Pascal architecture that had proven to be capable of remarkable levels of performance even with gaming notebooks.

For the new GPUs we find technical features that mirror those of the desktop proposals, with the addition of the Max-Q versions for the GeForce RTX 2080 and GeForce RTX 2070 models which, in the face of power containment, can find space in notebooks from the thickness overall content. In the following table we have compared the specifications of the 3 families of GeForce RTX GPUs, taking as a reference the mobile models and indicating for the notebook models the two proposals also of the Max-Q series.

Template GeForce RTX 2080
Desktop
GeForce RTX 2080
Mobile
GeForce RTX 2070
desktop
GeForce RTX 2070
Mobile
GeForce RTX 2060
desktop
GeForce RTX 2060
Mobile
CUDA Cores 2.944 2.944 2.304 2.304 1.920 1.920
GPU Clock 1.515 MHz 735 MHz (Max-Q)
1.380 MHz
1.410 MHz 885 MHz (Max-Q)
1.215 MHz
1.365 MHz 960 MHz
Boost Clock GPU 110 MHz
1.800 MHz (FE)
1.095 MHz (Max-Q)
1.590 MHz
1.620 MHz
1.710 MHZ (FE)
1.185 MHz (Max-Q)
1.440 MHz
1.680 MHz 1.200 MHz
Clock Memory 14 GBps 14 GBps
12 GBps (Max-Q)
14 GBps 14 GBps
12 GBps (Max-Q)
14 GBps 14 GBps
Memory Equipment 8 Gbytes 8 Gbytes 8 Gbytes 8 Gbytes 6 Gbytes 6 Gbytes
Memory Bandwidth 448 GB / s 448 GB / s
384 GB / s (Max-Q)
448 GB / s 448 GB / s
384 GB / s (Max-Q)
336 GB / s 336 GB / s
Memory Architecture GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR6
Bus Memory 256bit 256bit 256bit 256bit 192bit 192bit
TDP 215W
225W – FE
80W (Max-Q)
150 + W
175W
185W – FE
80W (Max-Q)
115W
160W 80-90W

We immediately notice how the mobile proposals leave the architecture unchanged, while much changes regarding the clock frequencies of both GPU and video memory. The number of CUDA cores is the same, while the clock frequencies of the chip are more contained in the standard versions and much smaller in those Max-Q. The rest is a practical necessity, to try to minimize the overall consumption of these video chips and thus make them compatible with use in a notebook. The clock frequency of the GDDR6 memory goes from 14 GBps of the standard versions to 12 GBps of the Max-Q ones, with a consequent reduction of the maximum bandwidth from 448 to 384 GBytes per second.

MSI GS65 Stealth

Clock variation compared
to desktop version
GeForce
RTX 2080
GeForce
RTX 2070
GeForce
RTX 2060
Mobile Clock Base -8.9%
-51.5% Max-Q
-13.8%
-37.2% Max-Q
-29.7%
Boost Mobile Clock -7%
-36% Max-Q
-11.1%
-26.9% Max-Q
-28.6%

We had already proposed this table in a previous article: we can clearly see how for the GPU versions intended for notebooks NVIDIA had to contain the clock frequency compared to that of the desktop versions, with a particularly evident decrease in the Max-Q proposals, which of the rest manage to contain the TDP on contained values. We will see below what performance level can be achieved with these GPUs compared to what is offered by the corresponding proposals of the GeForce GTX 10 family, always in Max-Q declination.

The first GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU-based notebook we had available in the newsroom is an MSI product, model GS65 Stealth 8SF. Based on a 15.6-inch diagonal screen with Full HD resolution of 1.920x.1.080 pixels, it is a classic proposal in the Taiwanese company’s range of mobile PCs. With a particularly powerful hardware and a gaming-oriented design but which maintains a certain overall elegance, it is suitable for passionate gamers who are looking for a powerful and easily transportable machine even for personal productivity.

GS65 Stealth 8SF uses the classic design of the GS65 models, characterized by a rather robust aluminum structure but with a limited thickness. MSI has used for this notebook what we believe to be a compromise design that is ideal for a notebook for gamers. In fact we find a completely black finish, with some secondary profiles in gold; the gaming soul is highlighted by the LED keyboard, which can easily be made more serious and classic by disabling lighting. The result is a product for gamers that certainly does not disfigure, in terms of visual impact, if used every day for personal productivity even on the work logo.

The keyboard has a classic layout for MSI notebooks, combined with a large touchpad developed especially in width. Steel series is the historic partner of MSI for the keyboards of its gaming notebooks: the response to typing is overall good. For the touchpad, the sensitivity with the gestures is valid, while the lower part of the keys tends to flex a little too much when subjected to pressure.

The limited thickness did not represent a limit to the integration of a large number of connection ports. On the left side we find two USB Type-A, flanked by two microphone and headphone jacks as well as the connector for the Gigabit network card. On the right side there is a third USB Type-A connector, a USB Type-C connector, Mini Display Port and HDMI video sockets as well as a connector for the large external power supply. On both sides there are also two slits for the air intake by the internal cooling system, which is then blown into the back.

Template MSI GS65 Stealth 8SF
15.6 inches, IPS 144Hz
Resolution 1920×1080
CPU Intel Core i7-8750H
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2070 Max-Q
Connectivity 1 USB 3.1 Type C Thunderbolt 3
3 USB 3.1 Type A
1 HDMI
1 Mini Display
Headphone and microphone jack port
System Memory 16GB DDR4-2666
Storage 512GB SSD
Connectivity Killer ac Wi-Fi
Killer gigabit LAN
Bluetooth 5
Battery 82Wh
OS Windows 10 Home
Weight 1.9kg
Dimensions 3577×247, 7×17.9mm

MSI GS65 Stealth

The processor used by MSI for the MSI GS65 Stealth 8SF notebook is everything but a novelty: it is the Intel Core i7-8750H model, a proposal characterized by 6 core architecture and 12 threads which has a default clock frequency of 2.2 GHz but that can go up to 4.1 GHz as the maximum clock boost frequency. It is a CPU that we have seen used by the vast majority of gamer notebooks that have appeared on the market in recent months, thanks to the balance between overall performance and the cost that is not absolute but still accessible for notebooks of this type.

The combination with 16 GBytes of DDR4 memory and a cooling system that is capable of operating the CPU always at low temperature values ​​allows the MSI notebook to record very valid performance values ​​in personal productivity and calculation tests.

MSI GS65 Stealth 8SF is one of the fastest notebooks we’ve been able to try in the last 2 years, thanks to the use of a 6 core CPU. The available power is high and lends itself well to any type of use that is not videogame: let’s think about the personal push productivity, the use of editing or video editing programs and more generally to those applications that make the most of the presence of a high number of cores that can work in parallel. In all these areas the MSI notebook defends itself very well, without taking into consideration the positive impact of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU with those non-graphical applications that can exploit its presence by parallel computing.

The SSD performance of 512 GBytes of capacity that we find under the body of this notebook is also very valid: it is capable of touching 3 GBytes per second in sequential data readings, reaching close to 2 GBytes per second in their sequential writing. These are values ​​that are accessible thanks to the PCI Express interface and that up until a few years ago could only be seen in notebooks with storage with two SSDs configured in Raid 0.

Taking the CPU to work at full load we can see how the cooling system operates with a high efficiency, managing to keep the clock frequency stable at 2.5 GHz for all cores, with a temperature that after the initial peak stabilizes at around 75° while remaining so throughout the duration of the test. Great efficiency but not so much silence: the cooling system does not fail to make itself felt during use, but this is the price to pay to exploit the computing power of 6 cores in such a limited form factor.

In consideration of the considerable computing power available and the features of this notebook, the range away from the power outlet is undoubtedly very valid. We have just passed the 6 hours of operation both with the web browsing test and with that of playing a video stream via Netflix, values ​​that ensure high productivity using only the battery. This data is significantly reduced when we begin to use the dedicated GPU, the one that is in fact the component with the highest consumption in the entire system: in this case it is difficult to think of going beyond 2 hours of autonomy, a value that is in any case interesting for who wants to have fun and does not have a power outlet available.

Let’s now analyze the capabilities of the MSI GS65 Stealth 8SF notebook with video games, which in fact is the reference area of ​​use of this product. The GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU that MSI has chosen for this laptop has a base clock frequency of 885 MHz, with the possibility of going as boost clock up to 1.185 MHz. The video memory sees the use of GDDR6 modules from 12 GBps combined with 256bit buses, for a maximum bandwidth of 384 GBytes per second.

MSI GS65 Stealth

The overall performance is very good, as evidenced by the test results: the frames per second generated are always high with both the qualitative settings used, and it is perhaps only the resolution of 1920×1080 pixels that the tested notebooks share that does not allow to show better the potential of these new generation GPUs. But it is precisely the choice of this resolution that allows the MSI GS65 Stealth 8SF notebook to guarantee the gamer a smooth user experience even with very high quality settings: by adopting a panel with a higher resolution, going up to 4K, it would be in fact they had to compromise in terms of qualitative settings in order to be able to maintain a suitable level of frames per second.

Using the 3DMark benchmark we measured the GPU’s clock and temperature, confirming the validity of the cooling system implemented by MSI for the GS65 Stealth 8SF notebook. The temperature of the video chip remains at low values ​​while the clock frequency of the GPU goes far beyond the 1.185 MHz boost clock, overcoming in some points the 1,700 MHz and then stabilizing between 1,200 MHz and 1,300 MHz. Also in this case, as we have seen in the analysis of the CPU operation at full load, the cooling system comes into operation making itself felt in a clear way: thinking of a videogamer who uses a headset there are no problems, but in a silent domestic environment the entry into operation of the Cooling system is certainly audible to anyone who is not using the PC.

The 15.6-inch diagonal screen with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels has a maximum refresh rate of 144 Hz, a very interesting value considering the needs of gamers in addition to the potential of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU. In terms of design, MSI has worked on the frames, which are very limited, especially on both sides, helping to maintain the overall size of the notebook. The IPS type panel has a matte finish, a feature that reduces the onset of reflections that can be generated by lighting sources (for example lamps or windows) located behind the user.

Among the software included in the system we find the MSI True Color utility, which allows you to choose six different profiles pre-set between “Player”, “Anti-Blue”, “sRGB”, “Designer”, “Office” and “Films”, which mainly act on the gamma curve of the display and on the temperature of the white point. We measured the “sRGB” profile, which we believe to be the most suitable and versatile for the vast majority of uses.

The gamut triangle that emerges from the colorimeter analysis is wider than the sRGB reference in the area of ​​greens and yellows. Overall saturation is very good, although the accuracy of some colors (blue, magenta and the aforementioned green and yellow) is slightly compromised. Very slight deviation towards cold shades due to the white point.

The behavior of the white point is better highlighted by the analysis of the white balance carried out at all levels of the gray scale. As we can see, the panel suffers from a slight deficiency as far as the red component of the RGB triad is concerned, compared to an almost correct and regular green and a blue that tends to be predominant in the deep grays as they gradually go down as the scale increases of grays. The situation at 100% of the scale – therefore white – shows more precisely what has already been seen with the gamut: it is the smallest amount of red that causes the slight shift towards cold tones.

The MSI True Color software supplied allows you to adjust the white (called color temperature) in all profiles, but for each profile it is possible to do this in different ways. Some (Anti-Blue, Office sRGB and Film) provide only a cursor to be oriented between the “hot” and “cold” extremes, while the Player and Designer profiles allow to act on the individual components of the RGB triad.

The analysis of the gamma curve shows a valid and quite respectful behavior of the 2.2 standard, thus ensuring a correct reproduction of the progression of the grayscale tones. The maximum luminance recorded is over 240 candles per square meter, which together with the black level of 0.324 candelas per square meter allows us to appreciate a native contrast ratio of 781:1, very good and in line with the characteristics of an IPS panel.

The DeltaE value represents the distance between two points in the Lab color space and provides a useful indication to understand how much a color reproduced on the screen is faithful to the color defined by the source. In this case the comparison samples are the 24 colors present in the Gretag Macbeth Color Checker paper. It is good to keep in mind that a DeltaE value between 0 and 1 represents an almost not perceptible deviation to the naked eye and for some particular colors the human eye is not able to perceive DeltaE variations up to 3. We therefore see that in most part of the cases the values ​​of DeltaE remain below 2 or slightly exceed it, but in those cases in which DeltaE exceeds the value 3 there are some in which it goes even almost up to 6.

From this point of view, the panel does not offer a rigorous chromatic fidelity, a characteristic which is however important when dealing with a device dedicated to professional graphic production. In this case, given the distinctly multimedia use of the laptop, we find ourselves in front of a more than adequate monitor, with a very good overall behavior.

We have had the opportunity to try various MSI notebooks from the GS65 Stealth series on previous occasions, getting the same summary: they are solid construction proposals that manage to combine a well-designed and not just “gaming” design like that of some other models of the Taiwanese company. The performances, thanks to the powerful hardware, are always very high: the use of an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2070 GPU allows to have no problem with the most recent games using the most qualitative settings, also thanks to the resolution of 1920×1080 pixels of the screen adopted by MSI.

The high number of communication ports on the two sides does not limit the overall expandability; integrated peripherals behave well overall both in daily productivity and in gaming. The real limitation of this model, which is not common with all gaming notebooks, is that of being noisy when exploited to its full potential. Moreover it could hardly not be, given the presence of a processor with 6-core architecture and a powerful GPU like the GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q.

Furthermore, MSI has certainly not wanted to intervene with the hardware monitoring system to excessively limit the performance of these components when under load: the clock frequencies remain always very high even in these conditions of use, offering the maximum potential to arrangement and going into this as well as typically obtainable with other notebooks based on the same CPU.

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